In many jurisdictions, including Australia, the most frequent method of case finalisation is not one that follows a fiercely fought battle between state and defendant, but instead is the result of a negotiation between the prosecution and defence resulting in the defendant entering a guilty plea. This process is neither an alloyed benefit nor a detriment for defendants, victims or the criminal justice system generally. And while primarily justified for their pragmatic benefits, plea negotiations are largely misunderstood by those outside the legal community. This chapter presents an overview of the empirical study of plea negotiations in Australia (the first of its kind) that informs the book, including the study’s methodology and aims. It concludes with an overview of each of the chapters.
KeywordsPlea negotiations Guilty plea Plea deals Plea bargaining
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